My interest in history and nature started at early age. When I was a teenager, I fell in love with American history, from French and Indian War through Western Fur Trade, from George Rogers Clark, Lewis and Clark, Hancock and Dickson, Williams, to Provost, Walker, Carson, Fitzpatrick and Bridger. Originally from the former Yugoslavia, I came to the USA when I realized where I would love to live and spend my life. Thus I started my new, 'by choice,' second life in Colorado. Got my first percussion gun, started shooting and hunting with it. Went through rendezvous circles for several years, started getting some buckskinning gear and attire, flintlock gun, fowler, pistol, got addicted to flintlocks and had a lot of fun going to the woods on my own. I've met some AMM members and realized that there is another way to go back in time and have fun, to learn more about ways and means of the original mountaineers, experience friendship and camaraderie with men who share similar interest. Went to several camps with RMO guys, spent time with them, learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Every camp is another opportunity to learn about gear and improve it, to learn about life, customs and sign language, organization and lifestyle of trappers and Natives in the Rocky Mountains, horses and horse gear, hunting, trapping, self sufficiency and natural provisions, research methods and reenactment ways. I love AMM camps, spending quality time with brother mountaineers, trappers, hunters, company men and free men, and enjoy becoming one of them.
My persona is of an American-Frenchmen from around St. Louis, Jean Baptiste Darko. My grandparents came to the area from Detroit, after the Pontiac's War, fearing the revenge of the British for siding with Pontiac. My father was a trader with Shawnees and Iowas, and hunter for hides and pelts in the surrounding area. As a young men, I have been hunting and trading with three other French youngsters along the Platte River into the mountains after the great war of 1812, trading with Arapahos, Cheyenne, and Pawnees, learned sign language, cultures and customs of Indian tribes, hunting beaver, buffaloes and white bears. Stayed in the Front Range of today's Colorado for several years, went back to St. Louis, bought a boarding house and thought that I will spend the rest of my life running after French maids and cussing after drunk men until my cousin Etienne took me with him and his caravan to the rendezvous. Ever since, for the last three years, I go back and forth, March to October, hunting for meat and looking for trouble before it reaches the caravan. When I come back from the mountains, I spend time around the boarding house and local taverns with mountaineers and traders, enjoy daydreaming about organizing one final beaver hunt with my friends, the big one that everybody will talk about, one that will make us all rich and young again. Then the March mule roundup starts, and dreams of being young again meet harsh reality of company life, contract, mules and horses, smells and anticipations.